|Genesis and abiotic characteristics of three high-altitude peatlands in the Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan), with focus on silty peatland substrates||downloads: 172 | type: pdf | size: 1 MB|
Volume 18 (2016) Article 24
Genesis and abiotic characteristics of three high-altitude peatlands in the Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan), with focus on silty peatland substrates.
by R. Müller, T. Heinicke, O. Juschus and J. Zeitz
Published online: 06.11.2016
Peatlands are scarce and threatened ecosystems in the semiarid region of Kyrgyzstan. Knowledge about the Kyrgyz peatlands is still poor and, especially, their genesis has hardly been investigated so far. Typically, the peatland substrates are characterised by the admixture of silt-sized particles in various quantities. In this work we report the abiotic properties and genesis of three peatlands within different altitudinal zones in southern Kyrgyzstan. We surveyed the stratification of the peatlands and their water chemistry. In addition, we investigated whether the silt found in the peatland substrates was deposited by wind, rivers or springs. The mineral constituents of the peatland substrates were analysed for particle size distribution and their elemental composition was compared with that of nearby loess, river and spring sediments using the immobile trace element titanium. One peatland shows a high abundance of different peatland substrates, indicating a frequent change of ecological conditions in the past. All three peatlands are fed by groundwater. Overgrazing and trampling by cattle has led to recent degradation of the upper peat layer. The resulting compaction of the peats prevents water from seeping into the substrates of the peatlands and subsequently changes their hydrology. Our results indicate that both wind and rivers have deposited silt in the peatlands, depending on their positions in the relief. Silts may also have been relocated by springs within the peatlands.
Müller, R., Heinicke, T., Juschus, O. & Zeitz, J. (2016): Genesis and abiotic characteristics of three high-altitude peatlands in the Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan), with focus on silty peatland substrates. Mires and Peat, 18(24), 1-19. (Online: http://www.mires-and-peat.net/pages/volumes/map18/map1824.php); 10.19189/MaP.2015.OMB.217
IMCG and IPS acknowledge the work of the reviewers.